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Mitch McConnell
  Republican Senate Leaders News Conference  CSPAN  January 14, 2020 4:14pm-4:28pm EST

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>> campaign 2020. watch our continuing coverage of the president rb8 candidates on the campaign trail and make up your own mind. as the voting begins next month, watch our live coverage of the iowa caucuses. on monday, february 3, c-span's campaign 2020. your ununfiltered view of politics. >> earlier today, senate party leaders discussed the upcoming impeachment trial of president trump at their weekly news conferences. a look now at their remarks beginning with the republicans. senator mcconnell: good afternoon, everyone. it looks like we'll be able to process the usmca in the senate this week, that will be good news for the senate and the
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country, something i think we have broad, bipartisan agreement on. with regard to impeachment, our understanding is, and i think your understanding is as well, the house is likely to finally send the articles over to us omorrow. and we'll be able to, we believe if that happens, in all likelihood, go through some preliminary steps here this week which could well include and we'll be able the chief justice coming over and swearing in members of the nat and some other kind of housekeeping measures. we hope to be able to achieve that by consent. which would set us up to begin the actual trial next tuesday. so that's sort of the week ahead and the early part of next week as it looks possible as of right now and i think that's likely to hold up.
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>> as the leader pointed out, we're at long last going to get the articles of impeachment from the house of representatives. i think it's safe to say that this is the most rushed, most biased and most partisan impeachment process in history. and of course we were told at the outset as the house was rushing through this that there through this that there was a real sense of urgency, they had to get this done because there was so important that we get this over to the senate and get it voted on and attempt to remove the president from office. but clearly after the speaker now having sat on it for nearly a month, it's clear that all along this has been a partisan exercise on the part of the democrats and an attempt to overturn a presidential election. and we're going to do our constitutional duty here, obviously we will take what they send us, as the leader pointed out prorksess it. but i would certainly hope that in the future that impeachment
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is reserved for what i think the founders intended and that is a serious remedy for serious crimes and not something that would be used as a political weapon. but we'll get the process under way and follow the outline that the leader laid out in terms of the organizing resolutions and hopefully get this behind us and back to work for the american people, which is what i think most americans would like to see and expect us to be doing here in the senate. >> speaker pelosi seems to have her pollsters working overtime, she's always looking for poll-tested phrases. they had quid pro quo for a while. before christmas the poll-tested word was urgency. now she's changed that on the sunday show last week, three different time she said coverup. the american people know that if there's been a coverup it's been by the democrats in the house.
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they have been obsessed with impeaching president trump from day one. the speaker said they've been at it for 2 1/2 years. the phone call with the president of ukraine didn't happen until last july. and in terms of being an unfair process in the house and the coverup there, they're the ones that held their secret meetings behind closed doors in the basement of the capitol. they are the ones that prevented due process for the president. they're the one that was selectively leaked misleading information about the process and they're the ones that first said the whistleblower would testify and then said the whistleblower would not testify. so that point, the harvard harris poll last week said only one in three americans, only one in three, believed the process in the house was fair. and even handed. only one in three. the process in the house, it was
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rushed. it was partisan. and it was sloppy. justice is going to be done and it's going to occur in the senate. >> we do want to have a fair process in the senate. several people asked yesterday about the motion to dismiss and whether there should be one early. my view then and now was that is process needs to be a process where process where everybody is heard and that the person who would benefit the most from everybody being heard is the president. he hasn't had a chance to make his case. he'll have that chance in the senate. the senate owes that to him and i think the congress owes that o the country. but we can't just have a one-sided process that suddenly ends, but a process where everybody gets a chance to be heard. we heard a lot from the house. we heard a lot from the house about how urgent this all was
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until the last month when apparently it wasn't urgent at all. but my view is, this will be the first chance that the president has had to make his case. he deserves that, the american people deserve a chance to hear the other side of this, which they haven't heard up until now. >> this past weekend i kicked off my sixth annual 99-county tour in iowa and my first county stop was in my hometown of red oak where i did an agricultural round table and no surprise there, folks, everybody wanted to know where we were with the and i was and i was proud to report to them we were taking it up in committees and the senate actually doing the work that people expect us to do and thanks to dr. barrasso, this morning we moved out of e.p.w., the usmca which is really great. i'm glad. our farmers and ranchers expect
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us to move on this and so i am hopeful that we'll be able to take it up on the full senate floor late they are week. but oddly enough, people, when we were having that discussion with those farmers, the only questions that came up about peachment was, will it delay us passing the usmca? ok, so folks back home, they don't care what's going on in this bubble surrounding impeachment. they just simply want to know, are we doing the work that is important to them? thicks like transportation. usmca. are we funding military appropriately. those are the things that folks back home really care about. and that's what we should be focusing on. so i am excited that we are moving on usmca. i will be so thankful to have that out of the senate and onto the president's desk. and then hopefully be able to move beyond impeachment and
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really focus on the people's business of impacting their daily lives. >> friday's jobs report provided some more good news for the people of indiana and all across america. let me read just some brief numbers here. the unemployment rate held steady at 3 1/2% in december. 145,000 new jobs were added. wages continued to grow and are up nearly 3% from a year ago. folks, this is what the american people want us to work on. this is where this republican controlled senate working with this president have been focused intently ever since we were sworn in. the economic policies that we have been championing have been working, whether it's tax reform, deregulation. we need to continue this momentum. just this week we'll advance the usmca through the senate. it's my understanding the president will be signing on to phase one of the trade
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negotiations with china. and these trade agreements will complement the other great work we've done on behalf of the american people. senator mcconnell: let me add one thing before going to the questions. i announced last tuesday that all 53 of us in our conference had agreed on an initial resolution about how to go forward. that remains the case. an 3 of us have reached understanding. very, very similar to the one that was achieved at the beginning of the clinton impeachment trial. 0-0, that would set up the arguments by the parties, the prosecutors and defense. and then written question period, and then after that, the more contentious issue of witnesses would be addressed by he senate.
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reporter: what concerns do you have about what they may try to play in the presidential election this is year and also democrats advocated removing election security legislation -- [inaudible] senator mcconnell: we are concerned about election security, that's why i've appropriated $800 million over the last couple of years to deal with it. i want to congratulate the i want to congratulate the current administration on the efforts both in 2018 and the offyear elections in 2019 from which we have essentially no reports of any kind of success. so we need to keep our eye on the russians or anybody else who is trying to mess with our election system and we're appropriating plenty of money to just that reporter: some in your conference suggested that democrats may want to call witnesses such as hunter biden. would you support calling hunter
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bide snn senator mcconnell: we'll be dealing with the witness issue at the appropriate time in the trial. i think it's appropriate to point out that both sides would want to call witnesses that they hear from. when you get to that issue, i can't imagine that only the witnesses that our democratic colleagues would want to call would be called. reporter: the president suggested that you should move to dismiss this, you want to get it over sooner rather than late why not push the time? senator mcconnell: there's little to no sentiment in the republican conference for a motion to dismiss. we feel we have an obligation to listen to the argues and we have laid out in this resolution an opportunity for everybody to sit -- remember, senators can't say anything. so they have to sit there and listen. to listen carefully to the arguments by both the prosecution and the defense to follow that up with written questions, submitted through the chief justice.
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and that means listening to the case. not dismissing the case. reporter: can there be a fair trial if there are no witnesses? senator mcconnell: well, you know, if you look at the house product, you really got to wonder what the definition of a fair trial is. they did almost nothing that you would expect the house to do in order to set up this case to be considered by the senate. and with regard to what witnesses are necessary, we've got with -- we're going to vote on that at the appropriate time after we listen to the arguments. reporter: lots of witnesss? senator mcconnell: 51 senators will decide who to call. what will who knows happen after that. we can't go there yet. we have to wait and see what the
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feeling of the senate is after listening to the arguments and the period of written questions. reporter: what about the organizing resolution, what will that resolution look like? senator mcconnell: i think that would come up appropriately next tuesday. that is accuming we're on to trial next tuesday and i think that's the case. >> good afternoon, everybody, i'm proud to be joined by senator kaine, senator baldwin, senator udall, because we were a little late, had another engagement, oh, no, he's here. senator udall is here. senator schumer: the past few weeks have highlighted the president's impulsive, erratic, egotistical and often reckless